Yesterday Mayor Livingstone announced an impressive sounding oil deal which will see London’s 250,000 recipients of Income Support receive half-priced bus and tram fares.
The deal is a bold step which could bring much needed help to London’s least well off and bring world class expertise to the Venezuela at a fraction of the cost of hiring private sector consultants.
Today One London’s Damian Hockney has highlighted the concern that the amount of money from deal will cover only a part of the lost fare revenues – a claim the Mayor’s office strongly dispute.
The aims of the deal are laudable and the opportunities offered by affordable travel cannot be overstated.
However any concessions must be fully costed and should not lead to an overall reduction in TfL’s income. Neither should the cost of the discount available to beneficiaries of this scheme exceed the money available under the deal struck with PetrÃ³leos de Venezuela Europa.
As with the fare concessions to London’s youths there’s a suspicion that the Mayor is hoping his political opponent’s questions can be portrayed as an all-out attack allowing him get his campaigning for next year’s elections underway before the other parties have selected their candidates.
In return the Mayor’s critics will surely be asking what the news that claimants need overseas assistance in order to afford travel within their home city says about his fares policy.